Mikaela Shiffrin can all but wrap up the World Cup overall title this weekend, live on NBC Sports.
The Olympic slalom champion headlines the fields for giant slalom and slalom races at the penultimate World Cup stop in Squaw Valley, Calif., on Friday and Saturday.
Shiffrin’s unparalleled season to date includes nine World Cup wins — most by any man or woman — with six slaloms, two giant slaloms and a super combined.
She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title — the biggest annual prize in ski racing — by 178 points with six total races left. The season ends with the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., next week, near Shiffrin’s Vail home.
Four years ago, Shiffrin had just become the youngest women’s world champion since 1985, taking the slalom at age 17. She followed that up by becoming the youngest Olympic slalom champion — man or woman — in Sochi.
Now, she’s on the verge of going into the Olympic year as the world’s best all-around female skier, the title associated with World Cup overall champion.
The overall title goes to the skier who accumulates the most points across all disciplines — downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, super combined — over the course of more than 30 races in a season.
Shiffrin rarely starts downhill or super-G, but nobody in the world at the moment is capable of earning podiums in all five disciplines.
This weekend, Shiffrin can all but seize the crystal globe trophy for the overall title. The scoring system awards 100 points to race winners, 80 points to second place and 60 points to third in a descending scale all the way to the 30th-place finisher.
Shiffrin’s closest pursuer, Slovenian Ilka Stuhec, struggles in the disciplines on this weekend’s schedule in Squaw Valley.
If Shiffrin and Stuhec repeat their average giant slalom and slalom results, Shiffrin will increase her lead from 178 points to nearly 300 points this weekend. That would be a pretty much insurmountable lead with just four races left the following week in Aspen.
Shiffrin can become the youngest male or female overall champion since Croatian Janica Kostelic won the second of her three titles at age 21 in 2003.
She would become the fifth American to take the crown after Phil Mahre, Tamara McKinney, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.
The Olympic season would bring a whole new set of expectations next fall, including this: the possibility of becoming the first U.S. woman to earn three gold medals at a single Winter Olympics.
Squaw Valley World Cup Schedule
Giant Slalom Run 1 — 1 p.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app
Giant Slalom Run 2 — 4 p.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app
Slalom Run 1 — 1 p.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app
Slalom Run 2 — 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app
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